What extracurricular activities one must do in college ?

Applying for college requires students to meet a lot of expectations, both inside and outside the classroom. We all know what colleges expect of us from an academic standpoint: excellent grades on tests and assignments, high scores in competitive exams and brilliant letters of recommendation from our teachers. However, not all colleges are satisfied with just academic credentials. Many of the newer colleges in India, such as Ashoka University and Krea University, are liberal arts universities. They are more in line with American and Canadian systems, and as such, they also require extracurriculars. These can vary based on which colleges one applies to, but in general, here are some main extracurriculars that every student should have.

1. Sports

In the applications for many universities, there is a list of “extracurriculars” that needs to be filled out. Some of these lists have dropdowns from which you can choose a broad topic within which your extracurricular fits. One of the most common ones you can find is sports.

If you play a sport even casually, it can be included in your application to give colleges a better sense of who you are. Sports can also make a very good topic for writing college essays, especially if there is a sporting event or sports person that has really inspired you. However, if you do include sports, make sure to have some evidence on hand – pictures, videos, certificates, or anything else that proves you played that sport.

2. Internships

Internships are a pretty big deal for colleges nowadays. They are important for a lot of reasons, but mainly, colleges want to see that a student can pursue a non-academic project in a professional environment and thrive.

Companies like Cisco come to schools and offer internships to students in the first half of the year so that they can bring a project to fruition before they have to start studying for exams. Many companies also look for high school students as interns, and while it may be boring, you can learn a lot from a new environment, and it will look great on an application.

3. Community Service

Community service is the cornerstone of any application that aims to be extremely competitive. Why? Because community service is an excellent way of making a tangible difference, and it shows colleges that you can collaborate, plan, and work towards the betterment of your community.

They are always looking for members, and provide unique opportunities to students in the field of community service. Interact Clubs also provide structure and leadership opportunities in community service, which allows it to become the main part of your application.

4. Academic Research

Whether you plan to enter the pure sciences, mathematics, social sciences, or humanities, academic research is a skill that everyone should have. While some international curricula like the IB teach academic research in high school, for those who don’t learn it as part of a school, there are many opportunities for research.

Most of these programs are categorized as college courses, so if you complete the course with a good grade, you can get college credits that are transferable to the university or college of your choice. Even though some colleges require you to submit a research paper to be eligible to apply, academic research can be a great skill to acquire early.

5. A Serious Hobby

This one might sound vague, but that’s because colleges don’t really have criteria for what counts as a hobby or which hobbies are better for a student. Hobbies are anything you like to do in your spare time that is at least somewhat unique, active and not passive (so watching Netflix doesn’t count, unless you write movie reviews, in which case, put it in your app!) and is something you have been pursuing a while.

Again, the proof is a must. If you play music, there are a lot of exams you can take and certifications you can get. You can make videos of you doing your hobby. You can have pictures or certificates from competitions for your hobby. Even if schools don’t ask for proof on the app.

6. Leadership Positions

Leadership can be displayed in many ways – leading a small team for a group project in school, organizing a small debate on a contentious topic, or even making a plan with friends. Leadership means taking responsibility and taking charge, and which platform you do that on is enough for you to talk about it. they may ask for it later, so it doesn’t hurt to have it.

Those were some key parts that all students should look to include in their college applications. You don’t need to have all of them, but some of them are key and can be a part of everyone’s application without too much additional effort.